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Making the most from tell a friend recommendation scripts - tips & ideas.

I was checking how often our tell a friend script pages have been accessed over the years and it's been very encouraging to see how many people appear to have made use of the free scripts (currently at version 1.3 and version 2.1). I'm planning the next updates of our Tell A Friend applications soon, but I was also thinking of more creative ways they could be used in their current form. 

We all know that word of mouth is one of the most powerful forms of recommendation as it helps to groom people to purchase products or take a specific course of action before they've even hit your site. With the increasing cost of PPC (pay per click) and other forms of marketing, small business owners need to get creative in how they get the word out to others about their products without blowing their ad budgets.

Here's some tips and ideas you may not have considered to help you make the most of your tell a friend recommendation scripts.

Firstly, here's the free scripts and forms you can use: 

Tell A Friend Script v 1.3 - basic form and script allowing people to send a link to your site to up to 3 of their friends

Tell A Friend Script v 2.1 - as above but also includes the URL of the page from where the "buy now" link was clicked in the recommendation email. 

.. and here's the ideas.

Pre and post sales recommendations

Why not leverage those who have, or are about to purchase something from you and reward them in the process for using a tell a friend script?

The first method of implementation would be on your order thank you page. You could offer a discount on a next purchase or some type of freebie if they complete the tell a friend form. Even your sincere thanks may be enough, but people are rather mercenary these days - always looking for the WIIFM (What's In It For Me) angle :). 

The other way that could also help boost your sales is to offer a discount if the shopper completes the form just prior to checkout. This idea would probably work best if you only sell a few different types of items or you have flagship items that are very popular.

It's important not to put blocks in front of shoppers, so I suggest offering 2 levels of pricing. 

a) your regular price with a buy now link

b) a discount price if the person tells 3 friends - use a separate buy now link for this. 

Wording along the lines of "Save $10 instantly by telling 3 friends about our site - buy now" might be a good call to action. Aside from getting them to recommend you to others, it may also generally increase sales conversions given the discount hook.

The tell a friend discount link would lead straight to the tell a friend form. After submission the thank you page would present the order button/s for the product/s at the discounted price. 

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In the section of the tell a friend script where you specify the message being sent to recipients, relevant text could be used, such as:

"X has just purchased a discounted product from our site and wanted to let you know about our store.. we offer etc. etc. You can get the same special discount too.. etc. etc."

This strategy would  be quite quick and easy to implement for most shopping cart setups and the minimum effort could give you some very nice returns.

Special landing page

This tip is somewhat related to the discount idea. You may like to try experimenting with specific pages for people who have been referred by their friends and colleagues - perhaps a page that recognizes that fact and offers them something special other visitors don't usually have access to. Using a special landing page can also assist you in keeping track of how many people visit your site as a result of a recommendation.

With the landing page idea, you could also use that opportunity to get those people to then recommend others.

Our basic tell a friend script would be best for this as it's more suited to directing people to a specific page on your site whereas the advanced script includes the referring page. 

Subscription confirmation pages

Something else you may like to try is using the form on subscription confirmation pages. If a person has just subscribed to your newsletter, it's a great time to ask them to tell others about it; and it doesn't interfere with the subscription process as they've already signed up. Offering an added incentive such as a special report, white paper or info sheet would probably help encourage them to recommend others. 

Tell a friend links in newsletters

On the topic of newsletters; you could also include a link in your newsletter to a tell-a-friend form. It's just another opportunity to grab more visitors and potential subscribers or customers.

The same types of strategies can be used anywhere that it won't interfere with a course of action you'd like your visitors to take. For example, if you offer free information sheets for download you could include a request for the person to use the tell a friend form on those pages; or even a link in the info sheet itself. You could even use it as "payment" for access to the info sheet.

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There's so many possibilities for making more use of tell-a-friend applications and perhaps by just having a link to the form on your site hoping people, you may be missing out on other easy opportunities to generate more qualified traffic.

Give some of these ideas whirl - they are all easy to implement and remove if not working for your scenario. Let me know if you find any of these ideas successful; I'd love to hear about it!

Related articles and tutorials

Tell A Friend Script v 1.3  

Tell A Friend Script v 2.1

Creating effective landing pages

Michael Bloch
Taming the Beast
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